Healthcare and pharmaceutical job cuts continue, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas

 Healthcare and pharmaceutical companies continued to shed jobs in March and the rest of the first quarter of 2013, according to the latest employment report released Thursday morning by Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Challenger defines and tracks 28 different sectors, with "healthcare/products" and "pharmaceuticals" being separate sectors. Government jobs are also a separate category, and some of those involve healthcare.

The healthcare sector had the third highest number of job cuts through the first three months of 2013, with 11,713 people leaving jobs versus 6,880 in the same period of 2012. The only two sectors with higher job losses were the financial and retail sectors. In shorter term, 6,349 people lost healthcare jobs in March versus 2,754 in February. The report said companies in March announced plans to hire 1588 people.

The numbers in the pharmaceutical sector were slightly more mixed, according to Challenger.

The quarterly total in pharmaceuticals was better than 2012, with only 3,185 losing jobs in 2013 compared to 4,459 a year earlier. (Obviously, that's of little solace to those now fretting about how to make a mortgage payment.)

But the overall trend continues in pharmaceuticals, according to the Challenger report.

In February 2013, 510 pharma jobs were cut, but that number jumped to 2,151 cuts in March. In March of 2012, only 123 pharma jobs were cut. The report said companies in March announced plans to hire 325 people.

AstraZeneca announced in March that it would cut or move 1200 jobs from its facility in Wilmington.

A link to the full press release from Challenger is here.